The domestic sex trafficking of minors is a problem of growing concern yet little critical attention. This book analyzes the forces behind the sex-trafficking industry in the United States and provides a much-needed reference for practitioners. It adopts a holistic approach, pursuing a nuanced exploration of these young people’s experiences, their treatment, and outside efforts to combat sex trafficking.
The book features interviews with service providers and experts, and incorporates recent research, thereby mapping the complex factors associated with young people’s involvement in trading sex and the social connections that facilitate their behavior. It considers the experiences of both those who “choose” sex work and those who are forced into it by circumstances or third parties, and it discusses the networks of friends and close acquaintances who introduce newcomers to the trade. In addition, it takes a hard look at how local and federal responses to trafficking increase young people’s vulnerability to trading sex. Urging policymakers and practitioners to move beyond the simple framework of “rescuing” victims and “punishing” villains, this book calls for policies and programs that focus on the failure of social and cultural systems and respond better to the young people caught in this web.